M104 | The Roaring Twenties | Stacy Wallach

2:30 - 4:00 p.m. |
Six Sessions -
4/1, 4/8, 4/29, 5/6, 5/13, 5/20
Hybrid - Zoom and In-person at BCC

     Part of the 1920s Project
This course will provide a general introduction to the so-called “Roaring Twenties” and will be accompanied in the spring semester and followed in the summer semester by in-depth courses on specific aspects of the Twenties.  

We will examine many of the popular myths about the Twenties, delineate how much of those myths were true, and focus on the often-harsh realities of the Twenties for different areas of the country and their varied populations. We’ll look behind the popular myths and try to understand the essential economics, the politics, and the rapidly changing culture. 

Were the Roaring Twenties truly wild and crazy? Women were voting for the first time in national elections.Despite prohibition, alcohol consumption was on the rise with men and women drinking together in speakeasies and dancing the Lindy Hop, the Charleston, the Black Bottom, and the Foxtrot. The Great Migration of African American men and women out of the rural South was transforming Northern cities and was hastened by the virtual end of foreign immigration in 1924Newspapers covered a surge of violence including gangland massacres, anarchist bombings, and white vigilantes targeting Roman Catholics, Jews and African Americans.  

At the same time, everyday life for Americans was positively transformed by revolutionary discoveries in basic science and the rise of automobiles, radios, movies, and home appliancesEqually stunning was the virtual explosion of modern art, theater, music, and literature.

Many have drawn parallels or even congruences between significant events and trends of the 1920s with those of the 2020s; and we’ll examine to what extent those apparent parallels are both true and useful.   

Part One of this course will include six classes in the spring semester.  Part Two will be in the summer semester.  

Stacy Wallach has been an OLLI instructor, mostly focused on American history, since 2007. Stacy is a graduate of the Mount Hermon School, Swarthmore College, and the University of Pennsylvania Law School. His instructional mode is visual -- lots of PowerPoint photos, maps, and charts.

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